The first two books of the Game Day Series by Patty Mills are “Patty Hits the Court”, and “Patty and the Shadows“. Each book has about one hundred pages, with illustrations on every page, and large text which is well spaced for easy reading. The pages are a cream colour to further assist with decoding. These books are aimed at young boys and girls who love sport. The main character, Patty, struggles with Math’s and Spelling, but his parents insist he finishes his work before he goes to training.
The first book begins with Patty playing football. He is quite a star and loves kicking goals. He and his friends in Canberra want to play a sport together, and they decide to try out for the basketball team. Suddenly Patty goes from being a grand goal sneak, to a rank beginner, with no understanding of the basic rules and terms of the game. His determination to compete and succeed almost deserts him, but after a steep learning curve, and a few embarrassing moments, he begins to learn the rhythm of the game and the procedures.
During this story, the author raises many pertinent issues. Firstly, Patty is an Indigenous player, as are his team mates. Because the parents have come from all over the world to Canberra for work, his classmates are from many backgrounds. They even swear in their own language! The author also has many girls in roles as strong sporting and influential characters. The issues of bullying and school pressures are integrated naturally and seamlessly into the story and are dealt with simply.
These stories have the absolute stamp of sincerity, as the author no doubt recollects his own youth and struggles. Patty Mills’s father is a Torres Strait Islander, while his mother is an Indigenous Australian from South Australia. Patty was introduced to basketball at the age of four, when his parents established a basketball team of Indigenous players, called the Shadows. He was a talented athlete, but ultimately chose basketball as his main focus. Now Patty Mills plays basketball for the San Antonio Spurs in the American National Basketball League.
These books are deceptively simple, but touch many realities in children’s lives. There are parents who want homework before sport, Math’s tests that seem overwhelming, and friends who help to steer you towards self-awareness and cooperation. This is an excellent series of books about to become favourite reading for many children.
|Author||Patty Mills and Jared Thomas|
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin Childrens|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin Childrens|